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Job Interview Dilemmas and Answers

Job Interview Dilemmas and Answers

April 18, 2011

Everyone tells you to research the company beforehand, and have questions ready for your interviewer. But he/she answers them all before you have a chance to sound thoughtful and inquisitive. What now?

If you’ve done your homework, you should be able to generate at least 5 or 6 questions that pertain to both the company and your prospective role within it. Don’t settle for questions that can be answered by the company’s homepage (e.g. how long have you been in business?) In most cases, this will ensure that there’s something left to talk about when it’s your turn to ask the questions.

If you do find yourself stuck, Root says it’s okay to reiterate noteworthy points made by your interviewer. Explain how or why those points were already on your radar – either as reasons you’d be a good fit, or as challenges you’d be excited to tackle. And remember that it’s better to ask nothing (or to ask questions in a follow up email) than to dive into “slacker alert” topics like vacation time, summer Fridays, the company’s policy on Facebook usage, or organized happy hours.

Is there any right answer for the question: “what’s your worst quality?” Is it okay to pull an evasive maneuver (ala Michael Scott on The Office) and offer that you care too much, or you’re too dedicated?

Here again, honesty is a good tact. (Unless your worst quality is your violent temper or your narcoleptic episodes.) Root says she doesn’t ask this of candidates, as it’s something of a generic, filler question. Still, it’s wise to prepare an answer, along with an example of how you’ve learned to overcome, or even leverage the trait. And if you can’t think of anything even marginally undesirable about yourself – well, there you go: your worst trait is over-confidence.